Aerodynamics

1923. Benz Tropfenwagen GP. The first Silver Arrow

With the valuable support of Prof. Massimo Grandi’s depth of knowledge and illustrative talent

Photo credit: Some images are taken from the book Asi Service "Quando le disegnava il vento" by Massimo Grandi

What does this race car remind you of if not the “Silver Arrow” of Hamilton and Bottas? That’s right: rear engine, even wings and aerodynamic tricks to increase performance proposed more or less a hundred years ago!

A perfect drop of water that was already used in the 1920s to exploit the air for added performance with a sort of rear wing

Benz, on the eve of the merger with Daimler and the consequent birth of Mercedes-Benz, following up on the idea of ​​Edmund Rumpler, makes racing cars, single-seater and two-seater models based on the same principles of aerodynamic purity as the Austrian visionary.

The two-seater sport version of the Benz Tropfenwagen accentuates the search for aerodynamic efficiency through external appendages that also acted as mudguards

The name clearly announces its intent: Tropfenwagen in German means “teardrop vehicle”. In addition, the use of a refined two-litre engine, two overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder – we’re talking about 1923! – low weight and excellent CX made it a technical benchmark for the time. Interesting fact: while no-one bought the Tropfenwagen from Rumpler, these Daimlers were in great demand but were not put into production, resulting in just four single-seater and two-seater sports models being made.

To speak of similarities, one hundred years later, is a bold statement. One constant is true however: throughout the history of Daimler-Benz, attention to racing has always been present